Ready for a vaccine requirement? Here’s how to tell.

Take this test to see if you've thought of everything that could be involved.
Photograph: Shutterstock

European health experts say the omicron-fueled spike in COVID cases may have crested in the U.K. and elsewhere on the Continent, but new infections continue to soar in the U.S. at the rate of about three-quarters of a million per day.

The near-vertical climb in cases is prompting more areas to require vaccinations for all restaurant employees and dine-in guests. Minnesota’s Twin Cities, for instance, each enacted a mandate Wednesday. Washington, D.C.’s requirement goes into effect on Friday.

Elsewhere, many restaurateurs are imposing their own proof-of-vaccination requirements on guests and staff to avert the need to shut down because someone tested positive for COVID. Others are on the fence, in part because the experiences of operators in cities with a mandate in place have been as varied as the restaurants themselves.

However a vaccine mandate may be required for your operation, is it ready?

Last week, the National Restaurant Association issued a list of questions that were intended to help restaurateurs understand all that a vaccine requirement entails. We reprint it here with the permission and encouragement of the association. The group is the majority investor in Restaurant Business.

  • Have you established what the acceptable proof of vaccination is with those who will be checking? Will you need the actual cards or will copies or photos on phones work?
  • Will your employees and customers need to show a legal form of identification, in addition to their vaccination cards, to prove identity? What forms of ID will be acceptable?
  • Do you need to verify that the various proofs of vaccination are real? What do you do if your checker suspects a fake or is presented with a less-than-acceptable form of proof?
  • Have you determined who on your staff will enforce vaccination requirements at your restaurant? Do you have candidates for each shift? How will management be involved?
  • How do you plan to explain your vaccination policy to customers before and as they arrive? Will you need signage? Will you post the information on your website and/or on social media?
  • Have you determined the logistics of where and how customers show proof so you don’t slow down service?
  • How do you plan to turn an on-premises occasion into an off-premises transaction if a customer can’t show proof of vaccination?
  • Will you require employees and customers to wear masks indoors despite proof of vaccination? Will you provide complimentary masks for those who don’t have them?
  • Do you need to check proof of vaccination for suppliers or vendors, or can they enter with just a mask?

More information is available from the association’s website.

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